PLC vs PAC: Similar but not the same

arnold machine

By Zach Arnold, founder, Arnold Machine

Programmable logic controllers, or PLCs, and programmable automation controllers, or PACs, are similar as they both perform the same essential functions. But with modern technology, their differences are becoming more blurred. 

The most notable difference between PLCs and PACs is their programming interface. PACs are more intricate, using C or C++. PLCs on the other hand, are programmed using ladder logic.

These programming differences create distinctions in the architecture and capability between the two computers.  Continue reading PLC vs PAC: Similar but not the same

Connecting the dots of quantum computing

ibm 4-qubit square circuit
Layout of IBM’s four superconducting quantum bit device announced in 2015. Using a square lattice, IBM is able to detect both types of quantum errors for the first time. (Credit: IBM Research)

By Sachin Garg, associate director, electronics and semiconductors practice, MarketsandMarkets Research

Binary computers helped us to get connected with an entirely new realm of opportunities and possibilities. It took a lot of effort and time to build a computer which can execute multiple tasks and handle massive calculations at the same time.

But despite many innovations and developments, the computing systems currently available are not fast enough in handling complex problems and calculations.

To address this problem, various tech companies and organisations have been developing computing systems which can use quantum concepts to execute complex tasks and solve any problems.  Continue reading Connecting the dots of quantum computing

Volkswagen buys D-Wave quantum computers which sell for $15 million each

D-Wave’s quantum computing system

Volkswagen has become a customer of D-Wave Systems, which builds quantum computers that cost $15 million each. 

Martin Hofmann, VW’s chief information officer, told New York Times that the investment in quantum computing technology is a sign of things to come. “For us, it’s a new era of technology,” he said.

VW is claimed to have used a D-Wave computer to steer the movements of 10,000 taxis in Beijing simultaneously, optimising their routes and reducing congestion, according to the report in NYT.  Continue reading Volkswagen buys D-Wave quantum computers which sell for $15 million each

Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

adl embedded systems

Exclusive interview with JC Ramirez, director of engineering, ADL Embedded Solutions

If there’s one problem most companies would be happy to have is the one related to having too many orders to deal with. 

This is the situation ADL Embedded Solutions finds itself in, according to JC Ramirez, the company’s director of engineering and product manager.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Ramirez says the company is experiencing “serious growing pains”, especially in Germany, where there is “too much work” going on.

ADL has generally been highly regarded and known as a “board company”, specialising in supplying technology for military and defence applications.

But the company has been going higher, into the upper levels of integration with its products in the past few years.  Continue reading Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

Distec signs distribution deal with Wincomm on industrial computers


Industrial computing specialist Distec has agreed a deal to stock the Wincomm Range of 15″, 19″ and 21.5″ fully waterproof industrial PCs.

The Manchester, UK based company, which supplies touchscreens, PCs and computing accessories to sectors including the food and beverage industry, says it has chosen the Wincomm range for its high quality components, which make it suitable for even the toughest environments.

The Wincomm range is particularly designed for the food and beverage industry, abattoirs and chemical plants, where PCs can be exposed to dangerous or unhygienic solids or liquids. Wincomm industrial PCs are housed in stainless, high-strength, anti-corrosion housing, meaning they will not wear over time.  Continue reading Distec signs distribution deal with Wincomm on industrial computers

SEL launches new industrial computer


Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories has launched the newest addition to its compact industrial computer family, the SEL3360E.

SEL says its compact, expandable industrial computer includes 10-year warranty and delivers performance and durability.

The SEL-3360E Compact Industrial Computer is made in the USA, and features the Intel Core i7 processor, a -40° to +60°C operating range, no vents and no moving parts.  Continue reading SEL launches new industrial computer

Manufacturing: A different type of industrial cloud

Not so long ago, computers were almost always in a business location – an accountant’s office, or something like that. But gradually, partly thanks to Apple iMac, the machines started making their way into homes in large numbers. 

But there are still categories of computers which don’t really belong in the home, or at least weren’t designed for domestic bliss. If you can comfortably fit a supercomputer or a mainframe into your house, that’s probably enough domestic bliss for you anyway.

For most of us, desktop computers – or increasingly laptop computers – are just about all the space we can share, and the largest manufacturers of such poor-man’s systems were recently listed by Gartner.

Worldwide computer shipments in second quarter of 2016

  1. Lenovo – 13.2 million units
  2. HP – 12.3 million units
  3. Dell – 10 million units
  4. Asus – 4.7 million units
  5. Apple – 4.6 million units
  6. Acer – 4.4 million units
  7. Others – 15.4 million units

Source: Gartner

Continue reading Manufacturing: A different type of industrial cloud

GoDaddy boss says AI and automation to shift power from big business toward small enterprise

Blake Irving, CEO, Go Daddy
Blake Irving, CEO, Go Daddy. Picture courtesy of AllThingsD

The chief executive of GoDaddy, the largest domain registrar in the world, says his company wants to transfer global economic power from large businesses to small enterprises with the help of artificial intelligence and automation technologies. 

In an article published on, Blake Irving makes a distinction between what he describes as “strong” AI – as practised by Darpa, MIT, Berkeley, IBM, Google and others – and “applied” AI, or AAI, such as machine learning and predictive analytics.

Irving writes: “GoDaddy’s vision is to radically shift the global economy toward small business by empowering people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures.

“We didn’t come to that vision by chance, but rather by identifying the intersection of technological and global economic opportunities — and Applied AI is at the heart of both.”

He adds that there are many benefits to be gained from increasing utilisation of AI and automation, but cautions that these technologies will inevitably lead to global economic upheaval, and result in millions of job losses.  Continue reading GoDaddy boss says AI and automation to shift power from big business toward small enterprise